Now in their 24th year, the Awards celebrate indigenous food and drink producers and organisations who create, make and share great Irish produce and products while helping maintain Ireland’s outstanding international reputation in food and drink.
The Cider Mill’s Mark Jenkinson is dedicated to reviving ancient cider traditions from his organic farmhouse orchards, the only cider producer in Ireland to practice keeving, a traditional and fully natural fermentation process.
Mark produces just 20,000 litres of Cockagee Pure Irish Keeved cider a year.
In his organic farmhouse orchard of 1,200 apple trees he experiments with more than 100 varieties of apples, some very rare.
The final fermentation takes place in bottle – much like Champagne – to which keeved cider is often compared. The result is a ‘live’ cider that hasn’t been filtered, pasteurised, back-sweetened or force-carbonated.
Other winners on the day included:
Food Awards: Connemara Smokehouse Smoked Mackerel, County Galway
Wildwood Balsamics range, County Mayo
Baltimore Bacon, County Cork
Organisation Award: McNally Family Farm, County Dublin
Environmental Award: Inagh Farmhouse Cheese (St Tola Irish Goat Cheese), County Clare
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ferguson Family of Gubbeen Farmhouse, County Cork.
Community Food Award: Sligo Global Kitchen, County Sligo.
The Community Food Award is new to these awards this year. The award highlights an organisation or individual working with food that has embraced an ethos of social responsibility to an exemplary level.
“Unprocessed, naturally-sourced ingredients are the foundation upon which Ireland’s reputation for culinary excellence is built and the winning produce being honoured at this year’s awards showcases the abundance of natural ingredients that is being cultivated from the Irish landscape,” said Aoife Carrigy, Chairperson of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild, speaking at the Awards.
“The winners of this year’s awards give a great sense of what Ireland’s best food producers can achieve with the island’s ‘raw materials’: flavours that are sometimes bold, sometimes subtle, but always pure and natural in their expression from our fields, orchards, hedgerows, mountains and waters,” said Aoife.
The awards, hosted at the two-Michelin-star Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, were marked with a lunch devised and prepared by chef and co-owner Guillaume Lebrun who incorporated the produce of each winner into a celebratory menu.
No one can enter themselves or their product into the IFWG awards. The Guild is the sole nominating and decision-making body. The exception to this is the Community Food Award, for which the Guild invites nominations every year from the general public as well as their own members.